Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cursive and Art History sadly axed.

This week we seem to have lost two aspects of education that contribute significantly to our civilized society. In the US it has been determined, by those who wrote the Common Core Standards, that cursive writing will no longer be a required part of the elementary school curriculum. The reason, apparently, is because of a) the time it takes to teach it and b) the prevalence of technology as a form of communication.

I find this second reason particularly irksome and bewildering. I remember when calculators first entered the elementary school classroom and all the students said they would no longer have to learn their math facts.Luckily, we did not fall for this strategy since we knew that fact recall, with understanding of course,  is an important part of being mathematically literate.

Te remarkable thing about the technology argument for removing cursive is that you could use the same argument for removing all instruction in writing from the elementary school curriculum since more and more electronic devices can convert speech into the written form. Even now, texting has auto-correct meaning that spelling is already a dying art.

On the other side of the Atlantic in the UK the History of Art  has been discontinued as an A-level subject of study. Remarkably, this was the reason given for the decision "In a letter to teachers, the board said it was struggling to recruit "sufficient experienced examiners" to mark and award specialist topics".

Sometimes, the decisions made by those who are, presumably, paid to know best are quite baffling..

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